Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Staged Reading of 'The Wall'

Staged reading: when a writer/director/producer has actors come in to read a script so he/she can hear it aloud.  They vary in terms of how much prep/rehearsal goes in, how many people see the "performance," etc., but they are always good practice for an actor!

Recently a writer friend of mine, Boni (a gentleman who was in one of Gina's writing programs), asked if I would participate in a staged reading of 'The Wall' -- a new play he's been working on so that he and some folks he would invite could hear it aloud.  Of course, I said yes!  On the day of the reading, the cast of 5-6 actors met for a brief rehearsal starting at 4:30 (reading started at 7:30), and what was most unique about this experience is that the rehearsal was actually a cold read.  Many times, you will get the script in advance so you can familiarize yourself with the role(s) you are playing and do some prep work, but Boni was working on the script right up until rehearsal so none of us had seen it yet, nor did we know what roles we would be playing.  That made for an interesting, but also exciting, first read-through as everyone more or less discovered their roles on the fly.

I got to play several different characters, and making them each specific and truthful was a bit of a challenge for me without having any time prior, but it was a good challenge!  And I felt like I managed to do a decent job given the circumstances.  Boni invited about a dozen of so folks to watch the reading and from their reactions seemed to enjoy the play.  I imagine now that he has heard it, Boni has a few things he wants to change, adjust, add, as he continues the writing of the script, so hopefully the reading was helpful to him.  I met some really talented actors who I hope to stay in touch with, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the another creative process.

Friday, October 22, 2010

'Tis the Season

What season you ask?  Awards Season here in Hollywood!  It is that 3-4 month period starting in October every year when studios and filmmakers roll out the movies that they hope will bring home the Golden Globe, Oscar, and guild hardware come early 2011.  It is a boon for us film fans here in Los Angeles, since it means many, many free film screenings, often accompanied by cast/crew interviews/Q&A sessions.

The season kicked off for me last night with a Variety Screening Series preview of 127 Hours, Danny Boyle's beautifully shot film about Aron Ralston, the hiker who spent five days trapped in a remote canyon after being pinned by a boulder.  After exhausting all possibilities, Ralston takes extreme measures.  I'll hold off on specifics, though most who see the movie go in knowing how the story ends... In fact, when I first heard they were making this movie, I wasn't sure what I thought of it.  Or more accurately, I wasn't sure HOW they could make a film out of the story (this concern was echoed by writer Simon Beaufoy, who during the Q&A session admitted that when director and collaborator, Danny Boyle first gave him Ralston's book he thought that it was "the first book on mountaineering that was absolutely unfilmable.")

Danny Boyle mentioned that he had been intrigued about the Ralston's story since reading about it back in 2003 and actually met with him about a film around 2006.  However, at that point, the adventurer was only interested in making a docu-drama style movie.  But, after the success of the Boyle/Beaufoy team on Slumdog Millionaire in 2008, and events in his own life, Ralston finally agreed to the filmmakers' vision for the story. 

The way that they -- along with lead James Franco, who is fantastic -- went about crafting the film (which Boyle describes as "an action movie where the lead character doesn't move") is really clever and engaging.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Big Mo

Just like in sports, I've noticed that momentum is of vital importance out here in Hollywood.  External momentum is key, of course -- building on bookings, successes, jobs, roles, etc.  People always want to jump aboard a moving train, especially what those folks see as a money train... But also necessary is internal momentum -- staying positive and motivated to get you through the slower times.

With that in mind, I'm trying my best to build on booking and shooting my small role on Criminal Minds.  Sure I would like to get representation, but not likely that one more little credit on my resume will make that happen.  So, instead I've been trying to focus on other casting directors -- sending out postcard updates to CDs that I've met at workshops, etc. about that gig and the new reel I have up on my website.  My hope is that one or two might call me in for an audition (the thought being, "well, he's good enough for that show, maybe he could do okay on ours" or something along those lines.)  And maybe, if I can get a few more credits on my own, I could secure good representation -- again, the moving train idea.  But, even if nothing comes of it, at least it has given me a way to feel productive (see: internal momentum) over the last week or so.


Monday, October 18, 2010

A Funny Guy

Tonight I had the opportunity to see my friend Todd Kreisman perform his stand-up in Sherman Oaks.  Todd is an actor/writer/comedian from Chicago who has been in Los Angeles for a bunch of years, but after a lengthy break from the industry has only recently decided to get back on the horse.

It's a good thing!  Todd's comedy is hilarious, acutely observational -- and occasionally musical! And he has been booking gigs all around town lately.  In fact, he was asked to do a set at Eva Longoria's restaurant, Beso, in Hollywood next Wednesday October 27, and if you are around LA, you should check it out!  DETAILS

Todd also writes a blog about his doings, including but not limited to, his show-biz career and journey to get in shape:  Discard the Lard

It's always inspiring to see talented folks do their thing, so thank you, sir and keep it up!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Has Come to LA

The Los Angeles version of autumn is here, i.e. cloudy, cold and drizzly weather.  And it brings with it the rarest of rare: a softball rain-out in Southern California.  Oh well, guess I'll just have to watch some more football today...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spotted at 36,000 Feet!

Thanks to my friends, Megan & Chris, who spotted me as the train station sniper in The A-Team on their last cross-country flight and snapped this pic!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Print Audition, Finally

It had been a long time since I had a print audition, so I was glad to get called in for Sony at Taylor Casting yesterday.  It was one of those where they see hundreds of folks, but the good part was that my wait time was only about 1 minute!  They took several pics and sent me on my way.  A long shot with those odds, but at least it makes me feel like I'm still in the race...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Old Friends in New Places

This weekend brought a nice surprise: good friends from Marquette, Kris and Vanessa, who live in Phoenix were visiting LA and we were able to meet for lunch at the Pig N' Whistle in Hollywood.  I haven't seen the two in way too long, and it was really nice to catch up.  And when I mentioned that Gina writes for Brothers & Sisters, they were happily surprised mostly because their other friend who was due to join us is a HUGE B&S fan and they had all just been talking about the show the night before.  And sure enough, when Melissa showed up -- Gina was like a celebrity, and Melissa demanded a picture with her :)
Come back soon guys!  (or maybe I'll see you come spring training 2011!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

C'est La Vie

I recently worked on The Artist - a French, silent, black-and-white, period piece shooting here in Hollywood.  It is an interesting production to be sure, and I'm not exactly sure what its distribution prospects are, though it will probably be a hit in France... Still, it was good fun to work on location downtown LA in a beautiful old theatre and Jazz Age restaurant and wear some authentic 1920's clothes.  Here are a couple pics:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Criminal Minds Shoot

I went to the studio for a costume fitting on Monday -- a really nice Italian suit (well-dressed reporters in this case, I guess!)  Tuesday's shoot was at Union Station downtown, and it was a lot of fun.  My call was at 5 p.m.;I filled out my contract, put on my suit and went through hair and make-up -- but they didn't end up shooting the press conference scene I was a part of until after midnight.  That was fine by me though as I got to hang out in my little trailer and read my book.  Without giving any spoilers, here is just a brief description of the scene itself: one of the main characters holds a press conference.  A TV reporter asks a few questions and my character throws a few questions in from the back -- ones which the main character doesn't want to respond to  They shot the sequence from a bunch of angles and that was that, we wrapped about 2 a.m..  The whole thing was a really good experience for me and next time (if I should be so lucky!) I book a tv show role, I'll know a little bit more what to expect.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I had my first official TV table reading today.  (quick note: before every TV episode is shot, most shows have a table read where all the actors, writers, and producers get together and read through the script...)  True to his word, Scott David got me on Criminal Minds a couple weeks after I was originally booked and that role was subsequently cut.  In the upcoming episode, I am playing a reporter at a news conference and have a couple lines.  My role shoots on Tuesday and I'm looking forward to it!

But, back to the table read: it was on the studio lot and there were so many folks there -- about 20+ actors and the writers and producers and studio folk...  Everybody was really kind; before the read (Brilliant Chicago actor!) Joe Mantegna came by and introduced himself to everyone, and afterward Executive Producer Ed Bernero came back and thanked us all individually for coming.  Anyway, it was nice that they made all of the guest cast (even those of us with only a line or two) feel a part of the process.  And most of all, it was nice to actually BE part of the process...